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OF THE WORLD’S FORESTS Francois Dufresne, President of FSC Canada, talks to Sustainable Business Magazine about how the Forest Stewardship Council is trying to help build an environmentally sustainable economy. Written by Thomas Massey. The concept of the Forest Stewardship Council was devised in 1990, as a group of timber users, traders, representatives of environmental and human rights groups came together. Concerned by the rapid increase in deforestation, and abuses of the world’s environment, they met with the same agenda: the need for a system that could reliably distinguish well managed forests and responsibly produced wood products. In 1993, following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development – or the Earth Summit - held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the founding assembly of the FSC was held in Toronto, Canada. Since its inception, the FSC has worked tirelessly to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s 20 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

forests and ultimately enabling businesses and consumers to make informed choices about the forest products they buy and create positive change to keep our forests healthy for future generations. The Non-governmental organization obtains funding primarily through membership fees, annual accreditation fees (paid by

certification holders) and non-government funding, and yet has still managed to make extraordinary progress in achieving its goals. Over the last 5 years, the number of hectares certified to FSC’s Forest Management Standards has increased by 20 million hectares (2009-2014) to a staggering 62 million hectares (December 2013) in Canada alone. Mr. Dufresne believes the recent success of the FSC is due to a number of reasons, including two key factors. “The first is market demand, not only in North America but also in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the impact of their decision on the environment and communities. Progressive companies are addressing this concern by verifying that the forest products they purchase come from FSC-certified

Sustainable Business Magazine  

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